Monday, September 3, 2007

Keeping you posted

We've had such a restful weekend that I'm practically in a coma. Mmmmm . . . I'm going to rouse myself enough to catch you up on the latest of my professional forays.

I've done lots and lots of research and have been contacting counselors and counseling centers for a few weeks now, garnering a few interviews along the way. The funny thing is that the group that I thought I would instantly mesh with--they would want me and I would want them--never even got back to me, even after an enthusiastic interview with a board member. Turns out that's okay--based on what I'm hearing third-hand, that might not be a good fit.

I've also learned that counselor-types aren't necessarily very good listeners--surprised and frustrated me how hard I had to work to break through the assumptions they brought to our meetings--meetings that were supposed to be informal and exploratory. A couple of times I just gave up, listening to someone go on and on about the problems they were experiencing in their organization, knowing that in many ways I would be able to help with those problems, but unable to get a word in edgewise to say so. Smile and handshake and move on.

I have had one firm offer from another denomination, but the organization seems disorganized and without focus. Someone told me that their reputation is "rudderless" and that certainly fit my experience with them. I haven't turned it down yet, though, just in case. A second group really, really, really impressed me and they expressed real interest . . . but there's just one catch: they have made an agreement not to hire anyone new until May. A third group also really impressed me and also expressed real interest and even offered to give me their therapist training for free (I've always wanted to take it but never did.) I may do some work for them part-time. They are very sharp but they only do one thing and my personal sense of mission is broader than that.

Which brings me to the latest . . . On Thursday, I made a proposal to the local association of my denomination after discussing it at some length with the executive director. He is taking my proposal to the governing board on Tuesday and will let me know of their response on Wednesday. Essentially, I have proposed a situation in which I create my own job, keep my own fees, and have the whole region as a ministry focus. Preparing for the meeting with this executive helped me gain more clarity and focus than I have ever had about my calling and mission and if my proposal is accepted, I will be able to lean into each of the areas to which I feel called. (I also think it would be a good deal for them as well, by the way.)

So maybe in a few days, I will have some idea of what I'll be doing professionally. Or some idea of what I won't be doing. Either way, it's about to wrap up, I think. I'll keep you posted.

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